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December 2018
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February 2019

January 2019

Educated: A Memoir (Tara Westover, Random House, 2018, 336 pages)

Drek.  Hated it.  I can't think of another book I have read in recent memory that has so completely ticked me off as this one.  Yes, I get that there is a feel good, make good despite a horrid childhood story here, but the clarity of that story is eclipsed, in my view, by the tiresome, self-indulgent pity party that predominates.  It's difficult to ignore the fact that, according to the author, virtually everyone, save for the author herself, is at fault for the author's circumstances.  I was, moreover, disappointed--indeed, outraged--that the author, who was educated at a college maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and whose tuition at that college was subsidized in large part by faithful tithe paying members of that church--didn't have the intellectual integrity or even courtesy to pause and explain to he readers that the twisted, perverted brand of "Mormonism" practiced and taught by her father and family are in no way representative of the members of that Church or an accurate reflection of its theology and doctrines as preached by that Church.   

 


The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg (Nicholas Dawidoff, Pantheon Press, 1994, 453 pages)

Baseball fans will enjoy this.  Berg (1902-1972) was a third-string major league catcher for 15 seasons, but it's not for his lack of baseball skills he's remembered, but rather for his intellectualism and eccentricity.  After graduating from Princeton in 1923 (he later earned a law degree at Columbia Unversity and studied at the Sorbonne), Berg joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Dawidoff shows us the oddball Berg: he sometimes read 10 newspapers a day and he had "a near mania for cleanliness."  With the outbreak of WW II, Berg's ability to speak perhaps 18 languages was put to use working for "Will Bill" Donovan at the OSS.  Berg played an important role in supplying information on the German nuclear threat and after the war helped corral European scientists for the U.S.  After the OSS was disbanded, Berg was cashiered and awarded the Medal of Freedom, which he refused to accept. For the remaining 25 years of his life he became "a vagabond, living on wit and charm and the kindness of friends." 

 


Book Report: What Did You Read in 2018?

My Book Report for 2018:

  • 53 books
  • 25,371 pages
  • average book length = 479 pages
  • average days per book = 6.8 days

Five Best Reads in 2018:

Five Worst Reads in 2018: